Priority Populations Tech Report Released

Knoxville-Knox County Planning is an information resource for many local community service partners, helping them recognize program needs and set priorities during their planning processes.

As part of this effort, we conduct research to identify communities facing greater social and economic equity challenges – those communities comprise our local priority populations.

Some results of this work can be seen in the recently published Priority Populations technical report, which spotlights neighborhoods characterized by above-average concentrations of poverty, unemployment, limited access to post-secondary education, shortage of healthy food, and other daily stressors. That stress is broadly measured around four themes: livability, mobility, opportunity, and vulnerability. Twenty-seven indicators comprised the four themes, including things like housing unit condition, transportation costs, living-wage jobs, persons with disabilities, and more. A description of each theme can be found below.

  • Livability – health, housing suitability, and safety of the built environment.
  • Mobility – ability to travel to education, employment, and other daily needs.
  • Opportunity – income, education, and achievability of financial security.
  • Vulnerability – characteristics that make populations more vulnerable to adverse economic conditions.

Also in the Priority Populations report, we offer a case study of Lenoir City, where we take a deeper look at the metrics that identify and quantify community difficulties, as well as contributions to area health and prosperity. The Lenoir City example shows stressors, such as concentrated poverty, low access to healthy food, and low health insurance coverage, but also identifies the city’s strengths. Those include below-average commute times and access to physical activity centers. This case study demonstrates how the Priority Populations model can be a valuable tool when deciding how to allocate planning, infrastructure, and community service funds to improve local quality of life.

You can find the full report as well as an interactive dashboard on Planning’s website.